TBILISI, DFWatch — Another witness has changed his testimony in one of several court cases against former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili.
The changed testimony led the Appeals Court to strip the case of one of the charges.
Orkuashvili was minister in Saakashvili’s government but turned against the president and eventually left for France where he received political asylum.
Several court cases were launched against him upon his return to Georgia late in 2012. This case concerns illegal appropriation of shares in Geocell, one of the largest mobile network companies in Georgia.
There was only one witness in the case: Dimitry Kitoshvili, who earlier was chair of the National Communications Commission.
At today’s hearing, the witness rejected his previous testimony and said he had been forced to testify against Okruashvili. The Appeals Court lifted the charge, as there are no more witnesses in the case, but Okruashvili was not let free as there are a number of other cases ongoing against him.
The charge in the Geocell case was a violation of the Criminal Law Code, 338th article, which is about bribe and appropriation of shares.
Okruashvili was sentenced in absentia to eleven years in jail by Tbilisi City Court in 2008. This sentence has later been annulled.
A few days before the trial, the Prosecutor’s Office released a statement about the case, writing that there is not enough evidence against the accused in this case. The office dropped two out of four charges from Irakli Okruashvili.
Wednesday, two witnesses changed their testimony in another case against Okruashvili for setting up illegal armed units.
Thursday, Tbilisi City Court decided to set the defendant free on a USD 6 000 bail in this case. Okruashvili was detained together with his cousin, who was released on a USD 6 000 bail today. Okruashvili will still remain in detention, as he still is on trial in two other cases.
The lawyers of the six others accused in the same case asked the court to release them on bail too, but the court rejected the request, out of concern that the accused may fail to appear in court later. The trial in this case will continue tomorrow at 14:00.